Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/15/2012
Publication Date: 2/8/2013
Citation: Gunter, S.A. 2013. Sand sagebrush rangeland utilization by cattle producers. Society for Range Management Annual Meeting, Oklahoma City, OK, Feb. 2-8. Abstract #61.
Technical Abstract: Since 1939, when the USDA purchased the Southern Plains Experimental Range (SPER), scientists of the USDA-Agricultural Research Service have been researching the appropriate uses of native mixed-grass prairie with an over story of sand sagebrush (Artemisia filifolia Torr.). This range type inhabits approximately 6 million hectares of sandy soils on the Southern and Central Great Plains. Early research examined appropriate stocking rates over a 20-year period that was necessary to achieve optional net returns while preventing plant mortality and(or) soil erosion. During this early period of research, before herbicides were readily available, the effects of mowing sand sagebrush on range carrying capacity was researched. Beginning in the early 1960’s with the increasing availability of herbicides, the research focused on controlling sagebrush and how range carrying capacity could be enhanced. During this same time period, introduced forages as a complement to native rangeland was researched in an effort to increase weaning per unit of rangeland grazed and to re-vegetate degraded farmland that was no longer productive. As society’s values have changed, so has the range utilization research at the SPER. Today’s research still focuses on the need for more food production from our rangelands, but we are equally concerned with maintaining ecological services to wildlife, water quality, and the land owner. In the future, we hope to develop rangeland management systems that have high levels of livestock production acceptable to land owners and enhance the sustainability of the system.